Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fantastic Four #600

Give Marvel credit for not holding back on this momentous issue, as the Fantastic Four celebrate their 50th anniversary with a 100-page blowout.

I'm delighted that I managed to read this before any of the surprises were spoiled (the advantage of being away from my computer for a day or so), and I'll do my best not to spoil anything for you.

Writer Jonathan Hickman has been building an epic storyline here, including: several evil alternate Reed Richards; the young members of the Future Foundation; the death of the Human Torch; the threat of Annihilus in the Negative Zone; The Inhumans from five galaxies; the attacking alien Kree Empire; and a gathering of almost all Earth's heroes. Whew!

It's a big canvas, and this issue covers a lot of ground, with massive battles, shocking revelations and hints of more to come.

Even with 100 pages, the story doesn't wrap up in this issue - it's going to take several more to get all this ground covered. But if you're looking for an intelligent, entertaining, plays-fair-with-the-reader story about a great group of characters, this is your title.

It almost feels like a classic Marvel title from the '60s, as it balances action, story, humor and characterization, keeps it all moving at top speed but never loses the reader. But it does all that with a modern, cutting-edge take on the series.

It's impressive that, despite everything that's going on in this issue, I didn't need a recap to remind me of where we were - it's all fresh in my mind from issue to issue. (Not every series out there can make this claim.)

The series is also blessed with great artists. It took a team to get this issue done, including Steve Epting, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ming Doyle, Lenil Francis Yu and an odd postnote by Farel Dalrymple. Excellent work all around!

Needless to say, big things happen here, and if you've ever been a fan of the FF, you should be reading this comic. It's a series that will challenge and delight you, and I (for one) can't wait to see where it goes from here.

It's an exciting time to be reading the Fantastic Four. They're the First Family of comics, and it's wonderful to see them back in a comic that is, once again, worthy of the title: The World's Greatest Comic Magazine!

Grade: A


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